Archive for the ‘Mindless Ramblings’ Category

Learn from the master. I will be making this soon and I will be posting pics and a review. My mouth is already watering.

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Braising is one of the most beautiful ways on earth to take a tougher cut of meat and turn it into flesh flavored candy. Enjoy the following video.

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After some serious thinking and soul searching, I’ve realized that I need to get back to my roots. Having seen the strength and bravery of their leadership at the municipal, state and federal levels over the last few months,  I couldn’t help but be inspired by the new version of the Republican party. They really are trying everything they can to fix something big problems and their innovative approach is refreshing after so many decades of the status quo. I was raised in a solid conservative home and the values and ideals that are driving today’s Republican leaders are the same as those I grew up with. This decision just feels right.

I had a good run at doing my best to be a northeastern liberal but I’ve never truly felt comfortable in that role. Every time I would consider the cause de jour from the liberal perspective, there was always this voice in the back of my head saying, “you know that’s not right”. I can ignore that voice no more. I know this will come as a shock to many of my liberal friends so all I can do is ask that they be open and accept my conservatism as an exercise in diversity.

To my many conservative friends and family members,  I must confess that it feels great to finally get that off of my chest. I know what the prodigal son must have felt as he returned home after being away for so many years. I’ll continue to blog about my life and my thoughts but I’m probably going to have to come up with a new name for the blog.  Suggestions? I’m thinking of something like RedinBlue.com to talk about how it feels to be a conservative in New England. There’s a lot of material to cover in a topic like that. I’ll also be focusing on publishing some recipes for red meats. I’ll still try to make them healthy recipes but the fact is that there’s no way a vegetarian dish can ever beat a medium-rare steak for flavor and raw visceral power. This is gonna rock!

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Save The Date

It’s time to run up your credit cards to the max and live it up everybody. Apparently, the end of the world is coming very soon. In fact, as early as May 21 2011. I’ve personally seen a number of these types of predicions in different forms over the years. The thing that surprises me about this movement is that they set the date so close to the present day. Usually if you want to drum up a lot of fear and paranoia about something, you want to give yourself a bit more leeway to get the ball rolling. Look how long we’ve been hearing about the Mayan 2012 thing. They’ve been working that date for years now. There isn’t even enough time to put out a straight to video disaster movie about 5/21/2011.

Personally, I find this particular “beware the upcoming apocalypse” trend to be amusing because its a great blend of tools from the impending doomsday arsenal: rapture, numerology, dispensationalism and biblical literalism.

Its stuff like this that puts the “mental” back in fundamentalism.

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OK, it looks like my WordPress for Android app wasn’t actually posting my entries to my blog and I hadn’t visited the actual site in a while to see that they were missing. Since the blog entries are usually time-sensative, I’ll go through and re-write them and post again if I still like what I wrote. Sorry for not being here, I was apparently having technical difficulties.

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When you kick an addiction to cigarettes or drugs or alcohol, you can go through the rest of your life without ever smoking, snorting or shooting your drug of choice. Not so with food. You’ve still got to eat if you want to live. This is quite unfair and it annoys me greatly. You never see the “Crack Court” at the mall.  There isn’t a drive through down the street to get your fix. Food addiction sucks.

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As of today, I’ve managed to lose somewhere around 60 pounds. I’ve also been exposed to a lot of new experiences and ways of living. A new life has been the best gift I could ever hope to receive.

One great new experience has been meditation. Another has been exercise. The most obvious one has been weight loss. These are things that will stay with me for a very long time. However, there are other experiences I’d rather not have again. Like all things in life, there are some new experiences with a down side. Usually, these experiences are ones where things don’t quite work out or ended in pain and tears. In order to help everyone else in my plus sized posse, I have put together a guide to these down sides so that they may avoid them. I call this my list of Things That Fat People Shouldn’t Do.

1. Snow Boarding – this was one of those things I really wanted to enjoy doing but in the end I spent weeks recovering from the aftermath of the application of gravity and snow to my joints and bones. Maybe when I’ve lost another 40-50 pounds I will be able to revisit this one.

2. Mountain Climbing – this one should be pretty obvious but stupidity, inexperience and denial are a deadly combination that can result in finding oneself halfway up a mountainside with a bunch of skinny Zen Buddhists panting and huffing and puffing while dreaming of the sweet embrace of death. Honestly, as a fat person, there were two words that should have tipped me off to avoid this activity: “mountain” and “climbing”. Live and learn, live and learn.

3. Walk – OK this one needs explaining. What I mean is walking on the uneven brick sidewalks we have in Portland, Maine. One beautiful summer day, I was walking down the street enjoying the beauty of the world around me and I just didn’t see that dip in the sidewalk. I had no idea I was going to go down like a ton of bricks but that’s exactly what happened when my foot went to step on a brick but landed on empty space. Bricks hurt when you land on them. They hurt your body and your ego as you sprawl over the sidewalk in front of a large group of strangers. Ouch.

4. Snow shoeing – This one needs a basic understanding of physics to get. Apparently, I don’t have a basic understanding of physics since I tried it anyway. The idea behind a snow shoe is that it distributes your weight across the surface of the snow to keep your body from sinking into said snow. When you’re fat, this doesn’t happen. They’re not magic shoes: they can only distribute so much weight before they sink in to the snow and you find yourself knee-deep with large, useless, snow shoes strapped to your feet acting more like snow anchors than shoes.

5. Plane rides – Just ask Kevin Smith about this one. Planes weren’t meant for one of my girth or one of my height. From now on, I’ll take the train. It’s much friendlier to people with my dimensions.

6. Roller coasters – see above entry about planes. There is nothing quite as embarrassing as trying to get the bar of a roller coaster down and not having it click into place. This was one of the first things I noticed about losing weight: I fit in roller coasters again. It’s still a tight squeeze but at least I can do it.

7. Pole dancing – even if you’re just messing around being silly, there’s no easy way to pick yourself (and the pole) up off the floor. If you’re lucky, the head wound isn’t too serious and the bleeding stops quickly.

8. Go shirtless at the beach. If you do this it can cause issues months later when your three-year old son asks basic questions about the anatomical differences between men and women. As it is explained to him that only women have boobies, he’ll be confused. Especially when his older sister insists that daddy has them, “Oh yes he does! I’ve seen them myself!!”

Everything above comes from personal experience—even the pole dancing. Notice a trend among the list? Most involve gravity. A few of them just involve trying to put a large round peg of a person into the small square holes built by the skinny people. Whatever the cause they have all happened because I became a person too big to live comfortably. Now, I’m working to undo the damage and improve my life. Slowly but surely, I’m getting there. For now, there is still a list of things I can’t do. What other things should be on this list? How has your weight impacted your life? What are some of the other things that fat people shouldn’t do that serve as motivation for us to transition from fat people to skinny people?

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You know those dreams where you’re trying to design an algorithm to solve a difficult problem but someone keeps changing the meaning and nature of the variables halfway through? No? Me neither but if I ever had a dream like that I’m sure I’d hate it.

OK, maybe I did have a dream like that. So what? Is it a big deal to be so frustrated with the changing nature of the dream’s reality that you wake up at 5 A.M. fully aware of the dream and what it might mean? No, I didn’t think so either.

To borrow a question from the Internet’s favorite double rainbow guy, “what does it mean!?” Unlike double rainbow guy, there isn’t an easy answer to this question when it comes to dreams like the one I woke up from about 90 minutes ago.

The first (and most obvious) answer is that it’s my subconscious mind dealing with stress. I’m sure there’s a component of this in my experience but it is definitely not the entire answer.

In my dream, I was trying to design an algorithm that would look at a picture of a building and return the optimal number of windows to put on the front of it to be aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient as well as provide a functional component from inside the building to ensure that the view when looking through a window would be unique and significantly different from all the other windows. Since most of these variables are subjective, I was having a hard time solving the problem because the interpretation of aesthetics and uniqueness of perspective kept changing. Yeah, not only do I speak nerd, I dream in it. Wanna make something of it?

With that background about the dream does its meaning become any clearer to you? No? Ok, how about this?

A second way of looking at the dream has to do with how I feel about perceptions and interpreting them. This is something I have to do every day. In my line of work, I don’t have the blessing of working with hard, concrete materials that can be transformed in to something. I get concepts, ideas and suggestions and opinions and have to make something out of them. Needless to say, this can often be a frustrating experience.

This is getting a little closer to the meaning behind my dream but I don’t think it’s the entire explanation of it.

When I woke up at 5 O’something this morning I knew exactly what I was dreaming about and why. This dream really had to do with my own ideas and perceptions rather than other’s views. In the dream, I was trying to design the algorithm but I was also the person looking out the window wanting a unique perspective. I was the committee responsible for guiding the project by defining the terms of success and deciding what things mean. I was dreaming about my own interpretations and perceptions of reality.

I could add a lot more to this but instead of trying to explain more of my subconscious mind’s workings, I’ll leave you with a bit of a Christmas koan: when you’re on a fast moving train, how do you experience stillness?

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Leaving On A Jet Plane

Tomorrow, I jet off to California to spend Thanksgiving with my family. We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time and my son is going nuts over the chance to go to Lego Land. I’ll try to update the blog from time to time so that I can track how I’m doing going through the biggest day of gluttony in the USA. On a personal note, I really need this vacation time. Work has been pretty stressful for me as I wind down a couple of projects and start up a new big one. I know that I’m too preoccupied with work when I wake up at 3:00 A.M. thinking about how to design screens to make data entry as efficient as possible. I hope to spend the next week just focusing on family and fun and do it all mindfully. It’ll be nice to exercise in a new location too. The pictures I’ve seen of our hotel’s gym look pretty nice. I’m sure I’ll find plenty of things to keep me busy each morning. Stay tuned for pictures starting (probably) on Friday.

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